Saddam's secret 'Chernobyl' radiation bomb
SADDAM HUSSEIN built and tested a doomsday weapon designed to mimic the effects of the Chernobyl disaster. Iraqi scientists designed a radiation bomb
that could be fired from the Supergun to spread a cloud of lethal zirconium dust over Middle Eastern cities. Details of the top-secret project have
been revealed by British Foreign Office sources, among them the current chief weapons inspector for the United Nations. The project was uncovered when
a UN team hunting for chemical and biological weapons visited a remote arms testing site in Iraq's western desert in 1995. They were astonished to be
told of the existence of the radiation bomb, but were asked not to reveal details.
Experts Predict Iraqi Nuclear Arsenal; Amount Uncertain
Saddam Hussein almost certainly has a nuclear weapons capability, in addition to extensive chemical and biological arsenals, say former intelligence
experts familiar with Iraqi weapons programs. The question, they say, is whether that capability is limited to small ``dirty bombs,'' in which
conventional explosives are packed into something compact like a suitcase and detonated to spread toxic radioactive debris over a relatively small
area, or whether Iraq has a full-fledged atomic bomb. Whatever Iraq's nuclear capability, to experts there is no question it has pressed ahead with
chemical and biological weapons. The CIA report said Iraq's chemical arsenal probably includes mustard gas, sarin, cyclosarin and VX nerve agents.
Meanwhile, its biological program is larger and more advanced than before the Gulf War, and includes such agents as anthrax. After the head of Iraq's
military industries defected in 1995, Iraq admitted it had produced more than 30,000 liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. Iraqi
officials admitted to U.N. inspectors the program involved finding ways to launch these agents by missile.
The inspectors concluded Iraq was trying to minimize its efforts and likely had produced two to four times what it was acknowledging.
There is no doubt the Pentagon has far more intelligence on Iraq than it has released. It will be used strategically when the timing is deemed most
propitious for the Bush administration's plans. Saddam's senior bodyguard has fled from Iraq with details of Saddam's secret arsenal.
His revelations come the day the UN inspectors report to the Security Council whether they have found a smoking gun that will trigger war. Now heís at
the top of Saddamís kill list. But there is no way Saddamís own assassination unit ñ the Hamaya Khasa ñ can get to Mahmoud. He is now protected by a
team of Israeli agents.
William Tierney, a former UN weapons inspector who has continued to gather information on Saddam's arsenal, said Mahmoud's information is "the
smoking gun". "Once the inspectors go to where Mahmoud has pointed them, then it's all over for Saddam," Tierney said. Tierney, who has
high-level contacts in Washington that go to the White House, said the information we publish today on Mahmoud's revelations "checks out, absolutely
Abu Hamdi Mahmoud has provided a list of sites that so far the UN inspectors have not visited. They include:
An underground chemical weapons facility at the southern end of the Jadray Peninsula in Baghdad.
A Scud assembly area near Ramadi. The missiles come from North Korea.
Two underground bunkers in Iraq's Western desert. These contain bio weapons.
Saddam's Arsenal: From Chemical Weapons To Nuclear Programme
"Cheat, retreat. Cheat, retreat," was the inspectors' description of the Iraqi tactics, intended to avoid punitive military strikes by America.
"International law? UN resolutions? Disarmament? They would have none of it," Mr Butler recalls in a book on his Iraqi experience. "They wanted the
freedom to sell oil, to travel and to trade without restrictions. They wanted, above all, to hold on to their weapons of mass destruction. All other
topics merely bored and annoyed them."
The Iraqis' main chemical development and production complex at al-Muthanna, largely destroyed by the allies in the Gulf War, was dismantled and
closed, still reeking with the fumes of mustard gas. The inspectors also oversaw the destruction of Iraq's biological weapons plant at al-Akam in
1996, one year after Iraqi officials finally admitted, after four years of strenuous denials, that they even had an offensive germ warfare programme.
Several gyroscopes ñ the main component of a missile's guidance system ñ fished out of the river Tigris on the Jordanian border in 1995 demonstrated
that the Iraqis were attempting illegally to increase the range of their missiles.
Secrets of Saddam's hidden arsenal
A dossier on Iraq's nuclear, biological and chemical warfare capabilities was drawn up in March by the Cabinet Office's joint intelligence
committee, chaired by the former MI6 officer John Scarlett, after intense discussions within the intelligence community about what should be published
and how much speculation it should contain.
UN weapons inspectors found that the Iraqis had weaponised anthrax, botulinum toxin and aflatoxin. The Iraqis admitted hiding their material in caves
and in tunnels.
They also carried out research and development work on other agents such as ricin (a highly potent toxin) and animal and plant agents. Iraq has also
admitted working on Clostridium perfringens, a bacterial weapon that causes gas gangrene, a condition in which the flesh rots.
Examining Iraqi records, Unscom came to the conclusion that the amounts of anthrax, botulinum, gas gangrene and aflatoxin were much less than the
capacity of its germ warfare laboratories. Iraq claimed it had run its weapons labs at less than full production capacity. The inspectors concluded
that Iraq still has at least 157 bombs and 25 missile warheads filled with germ agents, although those warheads would have a limited shelf-life.
Baghdad has claimed that one of the products made at its newly rebuilt Fallujah complex, west of Baghdad is castor oil for use in brake fluid. Castor
beans can also be used to make ricin.
The Iraqis admitted manufacturing agents including the nerve agent sarin and mustard gas. They had weaponised chemicals and had hundreds of tons of
mustard agent in missiles, artillery and rockets. Much of this was found and destroyed.
But in its final assessment of the Iraqi chemical programme Unscom said Iraq had failed to account for at least 3.9 tons of VX nerve gas - one of the
most deadly nerve agents - as well as 600 tons of ingredients to make it. Iraq said it had destroyed the material after the war but apart from a few
fragments of warheads bearing VX traces, no hard evidence of this was found.
Last year August Hanning, the German intelligence chief, claimed that Iraq was developing new chemical weapons and that "German companies apparently
delivered important components for the production of poison gas" to an Iraqi weapons plant at Samarra.
In early 2001, the CIA reported that Iraq had rebuilt two chemical plants at Fallujah, which had been used to produce chemical and biological weapons
before the Gulf war. Iraq has said the plants are being used solely to manufacture pesticides.
Germany's intelligence agency, the BND, which has specialised in tracking of Iraqi purchases of dual-use technology, believes that President
Saddam's nuclear weapons programme is still in business. Mr Hanning, said this year: "It is our estimate that Iraq will have an atomic bomb in three
Gary Milhollin, the head of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, told Congress last year that he believed Iraq had "all the elements of a
workable nuclear weapon except the fissile material needed to fuel it".
Most experts believe that President Saddam's lack of weapons-grade uranium or plutonium is the main obstacle to an Iraqi bomb, and that the process
of producing it is so laborious that the west could monitor his progress.
The International Atomic Energy Agency reported at the end of 1998: "There were no indications to suggest that Iraq was successful in its attempt to
produce nuclear weapons... or to suggest that Iraq had produced more than a few grammes of weapons-grade nuclear material."
But the Iraqi leader could short-circuit this process if he could acquire the material on the international black market, although there is no
evidence that he has done so.
President Saddam assembled a substantial team of nuclear weapons scientists before the Gulf war, and the evidence suggests it remains together. The
only significant defection was that of a senior engineer, Khidhir Hamza, who slipped out in 1994.
Former inspectors say the Iraqis could be working on warhead components and could even assemble some (ie all the non-nuclear components such as
electrical firing circuits, the high-quality steel explosive lenses which focus the high explosive to produce the critical force to create nuclear
fission) along with the high-grade explosive needed.
In 1999 it emerged that the Iraqi government had imported six "lithotripter" machines (used to shatter kidney stones without surgery), which contain
high-precision electronic switches that could also serve to trig ger a nuclear device. Suspicions were raised further when Iraq ordered 120 extra
switches as "spares".
It is unclear whether Baghdad ever got hold of them, but the order was a clear sign that Iraq continues to work on nuclear weapon design.
The Iraqis possess the artillery and rockets to deliver chemical weapons and have engineers and scientists still in place to develop and produce more,
according to former UN inspectors.
The Iraqi capability of medium-range missiles (the Al-Hussein, based on the Russian Scud design) is very limited. Most of the missiles were found and
destroyed. These missiles have a range of more than 400 miles and a 500kg payload.
A small number - and a quantity of major components that could be assembled into a missile - may be hidden. In 1998, Unscom believed that Iraq still
had nine ballistic Scud-type missiles whose whereabouts were unknown. Some analysts say these missiles were probably hidden and Baghdad cannot be sure
they will work as they are untested.
Satellite photographs in recent months have shown Iraq's attempts to rebuild many of the weapons and missile factories destroyed in Operation Desert
Fox in December 1998. Among those being refitted is the al-Taji missile plant.
Saddam's laboratories of death are capable of producing up to 200 tons of the deadly VX nerve gas, a brutal and vile poison that can kill in seconds
with a dose of just one milligram, according to a new report by international weapons experts. The experts said that "the Iraqi side continues to
exhibit a lack of transparency in certain areas. Therefore, the retention of a VX capability by Iraq cannot be excluded by the UNSCOM international
Saddam's Secret Strategy:The Threat of The Mass Martyrdom
Despite Iraq's decision to allow the return of weapons inspectors, military planning continues for a possible invasion of Iraq, while analysts try to
anticipate the potential reactions from Iraq's alleged mad leader. A newly issued report, has outlined possible Iraqi responses, but has overlooked a
two very plausible, potentially deadly and hard to counter possibilities.
"If the US and its allies wage war on Iraq, Saddam Hussein could order chemical and biological weapons to be unleashed - potentially directly into
Western or allied cities. Additionally, an invasion might actually increase the likelihood of terrorist access to and acquisition of Iraq's chemical
and biological assets," states a report by Jane's Terrorism & Security Monitor magazine.
"During the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam authorized commanders of his missile forces to launch biological and chemical weapons at Israel if US-led coalition
forces had marched on Baghdad," claims Andrew Oppenheimer, author of the report. "Presumably, if the US were to invade Iraq to enforce a change of
regime, Saddam could give such apocalyptic orders again."
Assuming it's true that the Iraqis actually have operable chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) weapons, the Iraqi leadership has a
number of options, if US forces invade Iraq and should they enter Baghdad and threaten to destroy Saddam Hussein's regime.
1. Threaten to, or release CBRNs against invading US forces
2. Threaten to, or release CBRNs against Israel
3. Threaten to, or release CBRNs against western or allied cities
4. Threaten to, or release CBRNs to terrorist groups for their use
5. Pre-deploy CBRNs against strategic targets
6. Threaten to, or release CBRNs against the Iraqi population